"The Turquoise Riviera"
amid amazing scenery of sharp contrasts, Antalya,
Turkey's principal holiday resort, is an attractive city with shady palm-lined
boulevards and a prize-winning marina. In the picturesque old quarter,
Kaleici, narrow, winding streets and old wooden
houses abut the ancient city walls. Since its founding in the second century
B.C. by Attalos II, a king of Pergamon, Antalya has been continuously
inhabited. The Romans, Byzantines and Seljuks
successively occupied the city before it came under Ottoman rule.
At Antalya, the pine-clad Toros Mountains
sweep down to the sparkling clear sea forming an irregular coastline of rocky headlands
and secluded coves. The region, bathed in sunshine for 300 days of the year, is a paradise
of sunbathing and swimming and of sporting activities such as windsurfing, water skiing,
sailing, rafting, mountain climbing and hunting. If you come to Antalya in March
and April, you may ski the mountains in the mornings and swim in
the warm waters of the Mediterranean in the afternoons.
Important historic sites and beautiful mosques await your discovery amid a landscape of
pine forests, olive and citrus groves and palm, avocado and banana plantations. Perge,
18 km from Antalya along the east coast, is an important city of ancient Pamphylian. It
was originally settled by the Hittites around 1500 B.C. The city features the remains of a
theater and a handsome city gate.
Also east of Antalya, the town of Aspendos
features the best-preserved theater of antiquity. The Aspendos Theater,
with seating for 15,000, is still in use today. Nearby stand the remains of a basilica,
agora and one of the largest aqueducts in Anatolia.
The Turquoise Coast is Turkey's tourism capital. Its full
range of accommodations, sunny climate, warm hospitality and variety of excursions and
activities make it a perfect holiday spot and popular venue for meetings and conference
The Antalya Region, offering all the mysticism of past in
our day, is now called the "Turkish Riviera" due to its archaeological and
natural beauties. Antalya is the place where sea, sun, history and nature
constitute a perfect harmony and which also includes the most beautiful and
clearest coast along the Medditerranean. The city still preserves its importance as a
centre throughout history in the south coast of the country, in addition to its wonderful
natural beauties. The mythological city which housed the Gods and Goddesses now exhibits
all its secrets and marvels to mankind.
Antalya is located in the west of the Medditerranean
region. In ancient times it covered all Pamphylia which means
"the land of all tribes". The land really deserves the name since it has
witnessed many successive civilizations throughout history. In 1st century BC the Pergamum
king Attalus ordered his men to find the most beautiful piece of land on
earth; he wanted them to find "heaven on earth". After
a long search all over the world, they discovered this land and said "This
must be 'Heaven' " and King Attalus founded the city giving it the name
"Attaleia". From then on many nations kept their eyes
on the city. When the Romans took over the Pergamene Kingdom, Attaleia became an
outstanding Roman city which the great Roman Emperor Hadrian
visited in 130 AD; an arch was built in his honour which is now worth seeing. Then came
the Byzantines, after which the Seljuk Turks took over the city in 1207 and gave it a
different name, Adalya, and built the Yivli Minaret.
The Ottomans followed the Seljuks and finally within the Turkish Republic it became a
Turkish city and an important port.
Antalya and its surrounding is an important and noteworthy
touristic centre on the Mediterranean Coast with its perfect climate and splendid harmony
of archaeological, historical and natural beauties, throughout the year. Daily tours to
surrounding touristic areas like Side, Alanya
and Termessos are available, in addition to longer tours to Pamukkale
or Cappadocia or anywhere you would like to go. Proffessional
tourist guides are also available.
City Walls: The memorial Hadrian
Arch and The Clock Tower are remarkable and date
back to Hellenistic era.
Kaleici: This is the nucleus of a city
which embraced many civilizations during time. It is now restored and has became a most
attractive touristic centre with its hotels, restaurants, shopping and entertainment
facilities. Kaleici retains all the original ancient Turkish archaeological
characteristics. The port's marina has been completely restored and is wellworth visiting.
The restoration activities in Kaleici won the Golden Apple Prize, the Oscar of
Antalya Museum: A prize winning museum and
one of the most notable archaeology museums, of the world. It is also the only museum in
Turkey with a children's department exhibiting ancient monuments appealing to children.
Hadrian's Gate: This ornamental marble
arch was constructed in 2nd century BC by the Romans in honour of the Emperor Hadrian. It
is the most amazing area in the whole ancient Pamphylia region.
Kesik Minaret (Broken Minaret): Once a
Byzantine Panaglia church, later converted into a mosque.
Yivli Minaret: This fluted minaret of 13th
century was built by the Seljuks. Decorated with dark blue and turquouise tiles, the
minaret eventually became the symbol of the city.
Karatay Medresesi, Hidirilk Tower, Ahi Yusuf Mescidi,
Iskele Mosque, Murat Pasa Mosque, Tekeli Mehmet Pasa Mosque, Balibey Mosque, Musellim
Mosque, Seyh Sinan Efendi Mosque and Osman Efendi Mosque are other places to be visited.
"Han"s are Seljuk or
Ottoman inns which have architectural significance. Some worth visiting are the Evdir
Han, Klrkoz Han, Alara Han and Castle and Sarapsu
Termessos: It is a Pisidyan city with
remnants of an agora, theatre and an odion. It has a reputation of being the most
magnificent necropolis on the Mediterranean, 35 kms northwest of Antalya.
Perge: 18 kms northeast of Antalya. The
ruins are spread on two hills, the theatre on one and the acropolis on the other.
According to the legend the city was built by three heros from Troy.
Sillyon: 34 kms from Antalya on the Alanya
direction. It is situated between Aspendos and Perge and dates back to 4th.century BC.
Aspendos: One of the most important
Pamphilian cities. It is situated on the point where the Kopru River meets the sea. Once
an important port and a commercal centre, it has a reputation for raising the best horses
on earth. The odeon, basilica, galleria and fountains are worth seeing.
LIMYRA (TURUNCOVA, ZENGERLER)
According to tomb inscriptions, Limyra was first known as Zemu-ri,
a Lycian name. It is an ancient Lycian site dating back as far as the fifth century B.C.
It is thought that the Lycian prince Pericles,
who opened war against the Persian administration and Greek colonies in the area with the
aim of establishing a Lycian federation, selected Limyra as his capital around 380 B.C. In
recent years German archaeological excavations have uncovered a magnificent heroon of
Coins of the League type minted by Limyra provide evidence
that it had become an autonomous city with membership in the Lycian League, by the second
Limyra followed the mainstream of Lycia's history, coming
under Roman domination in the first century B.C. and undoubtedly reaching its height
during the Pax Romana.
Pliny explains that, in Limyra there was an oracular
spring whose fish answered questions about the future. If the fish ate when
food was thrown to them, the oracle was favourable, but it they flicked their tails and
swam away, the reply was adverse.
Another interesting conclusion that can be made from
inscriptions is that, in Limyra, counter to Lycian tradition as a whole, Zeus must have
been worshipped on a large scale, and events like festivals and races were arranged in his
The ruins of Limyra are spread out across a plain and the
surrounding rocky slopes, which widen like triangles as they descend southward from the
hills of Mount Tocak. The first building one encounters here, just at the
foot of the hill, is a theatre of medium size in a good state of
preservation. Its cavea, divided in two by a diazoma, has sixteen tiers of seats below and
more than sixteen above, though the exact number has not been firmly fixed. At the ends of
these tiers are vaulted galleries, typically Roman in character, that take the form of
semicircles which open onto the diazoma. The real entrances to the vaults are located on
both sides of the diazoma. The stage building is too ruined to provide any idea of its
original appearance. Limyra's theatre must have ben damaged in the major earthquake that
occured in 141 A.D., since after the quake it was rebuilt with 20.000 denarii in aid from
one Opramoas of Rhodiapolis.
Side by side on a level area to the south of the theatre
are two separate settlement sites, almost like separate fortresses, each surrounded by
walls of a different period. In the western enclosure in the partially submerged cenotaph
of Gaius Caesar, Iying, north-east of a temple. Gaius Caesar, the adopted heir of
Augustus, was wounded in the course of a battle he was waging in the east in 3 B.C. and
died in Limyra on his way back to Rome. Because of this a tomb was erected in his memory
here. Tower-like in form, it reflects the architectural character of its time.
Unfortunately, very little of this cenotaph has survived to the present day. It was almost
totally destroyed when fortification walls were constructed on top of it during the
Byzantine period. The eastern walled enclosure is entered via a structure which can be
Limyra, sor far as the variety of its tombs is concerned,
is one of the foremost cities in Lycia. The stone tombs and sarcophagi
scattered in several groups mostly on the slopes of Mount Tocak, are among the best known
works of Lycian art. One of the most outstanding of these is the Xntabura
Sarcophagus immediately north-east of the theatre. This is a three-part
tomb consisting of a high base, on top of which is the polygonal body of the
sarcophagus covered with a gothic type rounded lid. Two opposing sphinxes are depicted on
the facade of the lid and a sacrifice scene on the hyposoriun. These characteristics date
the sarcophagus to the fourth century B.C. In the eastern and western necropoli, the
majority of tombs are inscribed in Lyican and are made in the form of houses or lonic
temple facades that show traces of Greek architecture.
Other of Limyra's ruins are situated in the acropolis at an
elevation of 200-300 metres up the slopes of Mount Tocak. In the acropolis, which consists
of a keep and the Byzantine church, is a fourth century B.C.
heroon built in the name of Prince Pericles. The upper portion,
which is almost totally destroyed, has been partially repaired with sculptural and
architectural fragments excavated among the tombs. One tomb, built on a terrace carved
from the living rock, is similar in plan to the memorial erected to the Xanthos Nereids.
Friezes on the east and west faces of the 3.40 metre-high hyposorium, show crowded scenes
of men going to war on foot, on horseback, and in chariots. The real upper building, in
addition to being in the form of an amphiprostyle temple, employs four caryatids in place
of the columns seen on the north and south sides. The caryatids, standing on the base,
support the architrave with their heads. The figure of a running woman appears on each
corner of the north acroterium of the pediment, which was found in excavations of the
heroon; at the centre is Perseus, holding the Gorgon's head in his right hand. These
sculptures of the acroterium are now in the Antalya Museum.
Olympos is one of the six major cities
that Strabo describes as having had three votes each in the Lycian League.
It is certain that the city took its name from the 2377 metre-high Mount
Olympos (Tahtalı Dağ) 15 km. to the north. Existing records and remains
indicate that Olympos was founded in Hellenistic times, and that its people were of an
ethnic make-up different from that of the Lycians. The oldest record we have of the city
is its League coinage dating to the second century B. C. while Olympos was an important
city, having won the title of metropolis around the beginning of the first century B.C.,
the captain of the Cilician pirates, Zeniketes, who had taken
control of the area, captured Olympos and used it as a base. After a war that lasted four
years, one Servilius Vatia, who in 78 B.C. assumed responsibility for eradicating the
pirates from the area, having surrounded the castle with Zeniketes inside, put it to the
torch. As punishment for their alliance with Zeniketes, Olympos and Phaselis were expelled
from the Lycian League, made subject to the Cilician state, and their entire treasuries
After half-an-hour's walk north-west of Olympos,
one arrives at a hill about 300-400 metres in altitude. On top of it is
a natural gas flame that has been burning
for thousands of years. Described in some ancient sources
as extraordinary and astounding, it is known today in the surrounding
area as "Yanartas" or "Burning
stone". This unextinguishable flame is mentioned in
Homer's epic poem The Iliad, as the spot where the heroic Bellerrophon
killed the Chimaera, a firebreathing mythical beast
with the head of a lion, the body of a goat, and tail in the form of a
serpent. The only trace the monster left on the face of the earth was
his fiery breath, which has continued to spew forth its flame for centuries.
The most beautiful of Homer's myths
about Lycia he told to Glaucos, and is summarized as follows:
"One day the famous Corinthian hero Bellerophon
saw a winged horse flying in the blue sky. This winged horse, after galloping to and fro
across the sky, shot like a streak of lightning down to one of the high mountain peaks
overlooking Corinth and quenched his thirst in its springs. Bellerophon, overcome with
admiration when he saw the horse, wanted to catch it, but his efforts were useless. Known
by the name of Pegasus, this divine steed would not even allow the hero to touch him.
Wanting very much to capture this mysterious animal, Bellerophon went to the Temple of
Athena on the advice of an oracle, and passed the night threre entreating the goddess of
wisdom to help him in this difficult task. He saw Athena in his dream and she said,
"Awaken, Bellerophon. To capture Pegasus I have brought you this golden bridle. With
it you will soften the rebellious creature and will be able to mount him."
As soon as he caught sight of the golden bridle,
Pegasus' bad temper disappeared and he became gentle as a lamb. Bellerophon, delirious
with excitement, jumped onto the divine steed and together they rose into the heavens.
From that day forward, Pegasus remained the inseparable friend of the young hero.
Terrible ordeals however, lay ahead for Bellerophon. At
one point he killed his brother, and to purify himself of his sins he left the city of his
birth, going to Protions, the king of Tirynthe. As soon as Anteia, the beautiful wife of
the king, laid eyes on Bellerophon, whom the gods had generously endowed with courage and
beauty, her heart caught fire and she became slave to an unquenchable passion for him, but
for all her beauty, for all her wiles and sweet words, she was unable to steal the
trustworthy Bellerophon's heart. The virtuous youth, not wanting to betray her husband,
rejected each of the queen's advances. Because of this, Anteia, fabricating a malicious
accusation against him, said to her husband, "Oh Poitos, either die or kill
Bellerophon, for he is a proven enemy".
These words greatly angered the listening king -to have
a guest killed would be an affront to the gods and would displease his subjects. For this
reason the king wrote a letter and gave it to Bellerophon, bidding him take it to lobates,
his father-in-law and the king of Lycia. Not knowing the situation he was in, Bellerophon
set out immediately on the road to Lycia. On the bank of the river Xanthos the king
welcomed him with great ceremony. The feast lasted nine days and nine nights. On the tenth
day lobates requested the letter brought by his guest. Reading it, he learned that Proitos
wanted the dissolute youth killed for indecently propositioning lobates' daughter, but how
could he kill a guest whom he had entertained for ten days? lobates, wanting both to
avenge his son-in law and to get out of murdering his guest, gave Bellerophon the task of
battling the monster called Chimaera. No one had been able to rout this huge beast that
was terrorizing all Lycia and scorching its earth. This lion-headed, goat-bodied,
serpent-tailed creature, spewing flames from its mouth, set fire to anyone who came near
it, igniting fields when it blew out its breath and reducing towns and villages to ashes.
Bellerophon mounted Pegasus and soared aloft. When he
met the Chimaera, he attacked it from the air, thrusting a long lead spear into its
flame-throwing mouth. The lead melted from the heat, began to flow, and the terrible
monster died. From that day to this the Chimaeira's fire has burned without cease in the
hills of Olympos.
After this victory, lobates, still seeking
Bellerophon's death, sent him to battle the Solymians, who lived in the vicinty of
Termessos. Once again the youth returned victorious from his assignment. This time the
king ordered him to battle the Amazons. When the dashing youth succeeded at this difficult
task, too, lobates believed that Bellerophon had descended from the race of the gods and
kept him in Lycia, making the youth his son-in-law.
Bellerophon, who up to this time had received the help
of the gods, was carried away with pride at his accomplishments and tried to reach as far
as the heights of Mount Olympos, but Zeus, resenting, the arrogance of the young man
flying so happily into the sky on Pegasus' back, loosed a horsefly, to sting the winged
steed. When the fly struck, Pegasus threw Bellerophon from his back into the void and
continued on his way aloft. From then on the gods would no longer send the horse down to
earth but shut him up in a tower.
Bellerophon himself fell back to earth. The famous hero
who had vanquished the dread Chimaera now began to limp about with an air of exhaustion.
As a result of his overweening pride at being such an important hero, he was cast into
wretchedness, always grieving, always miserable. In the end he died alone in a corner like
a nameless, unknown beggar. "
Olympos was founded on the north and south sides of a
valley formed by the Göksu River, which is born in the western
hills and empties itself into the Mediterranean. The acropolis of the northern settlement
is still quite covered with overgrowth, making it nearly impossible to distinguish and
name the ruins hidden beneath. The most impressive building on the northern side as the
cella door of a templum in antis in the lonic order, some 150 m. west of the river's
mouth. On top of the door, which is 7.85 metres high, are two consoles. From an
inscription on a statue base Iying in front of the door we learn that the temple was built
during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-180 A.D.).
North-east of the temple is a Byzantine bath consisting of a few compartments whose
function is unknown.
In an effort to control the Göksu, which divided the city
in two, the Olympos, laid high polygonal masonry walls on both sides of the river to form
quays. In the Byzantine era a basilica was built on top of the southern quay, whose fine
workmanship is of Hellenistic date. Further back are the remains of a colonnaded street 11
m. wide, Iying admidst the ruins of the buildings that once stood near it. To the
south-east, in a spot near the sea, can be found the ruins of a four-chambered bath. Both
the cavea, which is set into a natural slope, and the stage building of Olympos'theatre
are in complete ruins. Vaulted paradoses and other remaining architectural elements date
to Roman times. In the necropolis area, which stretches from the theatre up to the
south-west end of the city, vaulted chamber tombs and sarcophagi predominate.
Phaselis was founded in 690 B.C. by colonists
from Rhodes. According to one version of its founding, on the colonists'
arrival in the area their leader Lacios came across a local
shepherd named Cylabros at this spot. Liking the place and deciding to settle there,
Lacios asked the shepherd whether he wanted barley, bread or dry fish as payment for the
land. Cylabros chose fish. Thereafter it was the custom among the Phaselisians to offer
dry fish every year as a blessing for this strange shepherd. From this tale we can deduce
that there was a settlement at Phaselis before the arrival of the colonists.
Following a two hundred-year period when it was under
Persian rule, Phaselis was restored to independence by Cimon, an Athenian general in 449
B.C. Shortly afterward it entered the Athenian maritime federation known as the Delian
League. In the course if its history, the city assumed a strange attitude toward the
Lycians and had a political structure different from theirs.
In 333 B.C., after gaining control of Asia Minor, Alexander
the Great conquered Phaselis along with the rest of Lycia. Alexander stayed
for some time in the city, where he had been welcomed with enthusiasm on reaching Lycia,
and according to some sources remained there throughout the winter. One of these sources
gives the following account of his days in Phaselis.
The city is of stunning beauty, with three harbours,
straight thorughfares, squares, and a theatre. The first place Alexander visited was the
Temple of Athena, where Achilles' spear was preserved, and touched the weapon with
excitement. In the course of one his evening strolls he saw the statue of the Phaselisian
philosopher Thodectes, pupil of the famous Socrates. Taking garlands from the men beside
him, he placed them on the statue. In this manner he showed his respect for philosophers.
After the death of Alexander the Great, Phaselis, like all
of Lycia, came in turn under the rule of the Ptolemies and of Rhodes. Judging from the
coins it minted, the city appears to have entered the Lycian League some time after it
broke loose from foreign domination and regained its freedom.
Because of the absence of a strong authority at the
beginning of the first century B.C. Phaselis, along with neighbouring Olympos and some
cities in Pamphylia, fell into the hands of the Cilician corsairs under the command of
Zeniketes. The pirates, who had control over the entire Mediterranean, were hindering
Roman trade and capturing Roman ships. As the result of a major campaing however, the
Roman commander. Servilius Vatia, cleared the area of pirates in 78 B.C. but because
Phaselis was found to have been in collusion with the brigands and to have harboured them,
it was expelled from the League in punishment and its treasury was confiscated.
Because of its exceptional situation on the Egyptian,
Syrian and Greek, sea routes, Phaselis enjoyed a bright history, especially during the
Roman period. The Emperor Hadrian visited the city in 129 A.D. and new monuments were
built to commemorate the event.
The Phaselisians, who in large measure depended on maritime
trade for their livelihood, made a bad name for themselves in the commercial world
throughout antiquity. Demosthenes who describes them as "generally a very treacherous
and pitiless people", goes on to say. "They are very cunning when seeking a
loan, but before long they forget that they have borrowed. And when they are reminded of
it, they easily find a thousand pretexts and excuses..."
When the famous harpist Stratonicus was asked which people
were the most treacherous he replied, "In Pamphylia the Phaselisians, but in the
whole world, the people of Side".
Phaselis again became the scene of looting and piracy
during the third century B.C. In the following periods, it was unable to profit from sea
trade because of Arab raids, and it soon lost its importance.
Like the other colonies we have seen, Phaselis was
established on a peninsula, with its acropolis occupying the tip.
The principal buildings are situated at the foot of the acropolis on a low area to the
north and southwest. Almost all of the ruins that can be seen today belong to the Roman or
As Strabo states, Phaselis had three harbours.
The best preserved of these is the main one, otherwise known as the military harbour,
which fishing boats easily enter and leave even today. The walls, which surround the
entire acropolis and continue even over the harbour's breakwater, leave only a 17
metre-wide mouth at the centre. At this entrance, the remains of guard towers can still be
seen above the tips of the waves. The cordon constructed of cult conglomerate stone and
the other foundations on top of it are in sound condition.
The avenue linking the main harbour to the southern port
has a threepart layout. The central and principal street is paved with blocks of
conglomerate rock and measures 225 metres long by 20-25 metres wide. Narrow raised
pavements in the form of terraces and reached by stairs, line both sides of the street.
Leaving the city centre, the road ends on the side of the southern harbour with a
single-arched monumental gateway erected in the name of Hadrian; it is now in a state of
ruin. The city's principal buildings line this street. South-east of the main harbour are
the remains of the major bath, dated to the second century
A.D... It is evident from an inscription on its facade that the square agora at the end of
this bath dates from Hadrian's time. A small church of the
basilica type was built inside the agora at a later date. The wide area in the south-west
section is enclosed on the west by shops of square plan. An inscription on a door at the
front dates the agora to the time of the Emperor Domitian (81- 96 A.D.). However in later
periods the agora underwent many changes. On the street, facing the city square, is
another building, a small bath complex.
The theatre, situated on the
north-west slope of the acropolis, is approached by steps from the town square. In all
probability it was rebuilt on the Roman plan in the second century A.D. on top of an
earlier Hellenistic theatre. The cavea building, which is in quite a good state of
preservation had an average capacity of 3,000 people. The partially preserved walls of the
two-storey stage building indicate that it had five doors.
The aqueduct, which begins at a spring on the hill behind
the northern harbour and extends as far as the agora, is today. Phaselis' best preserved
and most impressive ruin.
Tombs and sarcophagi of the Hellenistic, Roman, and
Byzantine eras are seen in the acropolis. There are many tombs in the form of a single
vaulted chamber set atop a square foundation, particularly on the coast surrounding the
Excavations and restoration projects have been carried out
in Phaselis since 1980 by a Turkish achaeological team.
Termesos is one of the best preserved of the
ancient cities of Turkey. It lies 30 kilometres to the north-west of
Antalya. It was founded on a natural platform on top of Güllük Dağı,
soaring to a height of 1.665 metres from among the surroundig travertine mountains of
Antalya, which average only 200 metres above sea level. Concealed by a multitude of wild
plants and bounded by dense pine forests, the side, with its peaceful and untouched
appearance, has a more distinct and impressive atmosphere than other ancient cities.
Because of its natural and historical riches, the city has been included in a National
Park bearing its name.
The double "s" in Termessos provides linguistic
evidence that the city was founded by an Anatolian people Acording to Strabo, the
inhabitants of Termessos called themselves the Slymi and were a
Pisidian people. Their name, as well as that given to the mountain on which they lived,
was derived from Solymeus, an Anatolian god who in later times became identified with
Zeus, giving rise here to the cult of Zeus Solymeus. The coins of Termessos often depict
this god and give his name.
Our first encounter with this city on the stage of history
is in connection with the famous siege of Alexander the Great. Arrianos, one of the
ancient historians who dealt with this event and recorded the strategic importance of
Termessos, notes that even a small force could easily defend it due to the insurmountable
natural barriers surrounding the city. Alexander wanted to go to Phrygia from Pamphylia,
and according to Arrianos the road passed by Termessos. Actually, there are other passes
much lower and easier of access, so why Alexander chose to ascend the steep Yenice pass is
still a matter of dispute. It is even said that his hosts in Perge sent Alexander up the
wrong path. Alexander wasted a lot of time and effort trying to force the pass which had
been closed by the Termessians, and so, in anger he turned toward Termessos and surrounded
it. Probably because he knew he could not capture the city, Alexander did not undertake an
assault, but instead marched north and vented his fury on Sagalassos.
The historian Diodors has recorded in full detail another
unforgettable incident in the history of Termessos. In 319 B.C., after the death of
Alexander, one of his generals, a certain Antigonos Monophtalmos, proclaimed himself
master of Asia Minor and set out to do battle with his rival Alcetas, whose base of
support was Pisidia. His forces were made up of some 40,000 infantry, 7,000 cavalry, and
included numerous elephants as well. Unable to vanquish these superior forces. Alcetas and
his friends sought refuge in Termessos. The Termessians gave their word that they would
help him. At this time, Antigonos came and set up camp in front of the city, seeking
delivery of his rival. Not wanting their city to be dragged into disaster for the sake of
a Macedonian foreigner, the elders of the city decided to hand Alcetas over, but the
youths of Termessos wanted to keep their word and refused to go along with the plan. The
elders sent Antigonos an envoy to inform him of their intent to surrender Alcetas.
According to a secret plan to continue the fight, the youth of Termessos managed to leave
the city. Learning of his imminent capture and preferring death to being handed over to
his enemy, Alcetas killed himself. The elders delivered his corpse to Antigonos. After
subjecting the corps to all manner of abuse for three days, Antigonos departed Pisidia
leaving the corpse unburied. The youth, greatly resenting what had happened, recovered
Alceas'corpse, buried it with full honours, and erected a beautiful monument to his,
Termessos was obviously not a port city, but its lands
stretched south-east all the way to the Gulf of Attaleia
(Alanya). Because the city possessed this link to the sea it was taken by the Ptolemies.
It is very surprising that a city which had stood up to the mighty aries of Alexander not
forty years before would now accept the sovereignty of the Egyptians.
An inscription found in the Lycian city of Araxa yielde
important information about Termessos. According to this inscription, in the 200's B.C.
Termessos was at war for unknown reasons with the league of Lycian cities, and again in
189 B.C. found itself battling its Pisidian neighbour Isinda. At this same time we find
the colony of Termessos Minor being founded near the city in the second century B.C.,
Termessos entered into friendly relations with Attalos II, king of Pergamum, the better to
combat its ancient enemy Serge. Attalos II commemorated this friendship by building a
two-storeyed stoa in Termessos.
Termessos was an ally of Rome, and so in 71 B.C. was
granted independent status by the Roman Senate; according to this law its freedom and
rights were guaranteed. This independence was maintained continuously for a long time, the
only exception being an alliance with Amyntas king of Galatia (reigned 36-25 B.C.). this
independence is documented also by the coins of Termessos, which bear the title
From the main road, a steep road leads up to the city. From
this road once can see the famous Yenice pass, through which
wound ancient road that the Termessians called "King Street"
as well as Hellenistic period fortification walls, cisterns and many other remains. King
Street, built in the second century A.D. by contributions from the people of Termessos,
passes through the city walls higher up and stretches in a straight line all the way to
the centre of the city. In the walls to the east of the city gate are some extremely
interesting inscriptions with augury by dice. Throughout the history of the Roman Empire,
beliefs of this sort-in sorcery, magic, and superstition-were widespread. The Termessians
were probably very interested in fortune telling. Inscriptions of this kind are usually
four to five lines long and include numbers to be thrown with the dice, the name of the
god wanted for soothsaying, and the nature of the prediction given in the counsels of that
The city Termessians where the principal official buildings
are located lies on a flat area a little beyond the inner walls. The most striking of
these structures is the agora, which has very special architectural characteristics. The
ground floor of this open-air market place has been raised on stone blocks, and to its
north-west five big cisterns have been hollowed out. The agora is surrounded on three
sides by stoas. According to the inscription found on the two-storey stoa on the
north-west, it was presented to Termessos by Attalos II, king of Pergamum (reigned 150-138
B.C) as proof of his friendship. As for the north-eastern stoa, it was built by a wealthy
Termessian named Osbaras, probably in imitation of the stoa of Attalos. The ruins Iying to
the north-east of the agora must belong to the gymnasium, but they are hard to make out
among all the trees. The two-storey building consisted of an internal courtyard surrounde
by vaulted rooms. The exterior is decorated with niches and other ornamentation of the
Doric order. This structure dates from the first century A.D.
Immediately to the aest of the agora lies the theatre.
Commanding a view out over the Pamphylian plain, this building is no doubt the most
eyecatching in all the Termessos plain. It displays most clearly the features of the Roman
theatre, which preserved the Hellenistic period theatre plan. The Hellenistic cavea, or
semicircular seating area, is divided in two by a diazoma. Above the diazoma rise eight
tiers of seats, below it are sixteen, allowing for a seating capacity of some 4-5,000
spectators. A large arched entrance way connects the cavea with the agora. The southern
parados was vaulted at some later time, the northern has been left in its original
open-air state. The stage building exhibits features characteristic of the second century
A.D. A long narrow room is all that lies behind it. This is connected with the podium
where the play took place, by five doors piercing the richly ornamented facade or scaenae
frons. Under the stage lie five small rooms where wild animals were kept before being
taken into the orchestra for combat. As in other classical cities, an odeon lies about 100
metres from the theatre. This building, which looks like a small theatre, can be dated to
the first century B.C. It is well preserved all the way to roof level and exhibits the
finest quality ashlar masonry. The upper storey is ornamented in the Doric order and
coursed with square-cut blocks of stone, while the lower storey is unornamented and
pierced by two doors. It is certain that the building was originally roofed, since it
received its light from eleven large windows in the east and west walls. Just how this
roof, which spanned 25 metres, was housed, has not yet been determined. Because the
interior is full of earth and rubble at present, it is not possible to gauge either the
building's seating arrangement or its capacity. Seating capacity was probably not larger
than 600-700. Amid the rubble, pieces of coloured marble have been unearthed, giving rise
to the possibility that the interior walls were decorated with mosaic. It is also possible
that this elegant building served as the bouleuterion or council chamber.
Six temples of varying sizes and types have been accounted
for at Termessos. Four of these are found near the odeon in an area that must have been
sacred. The first of these temples is located directly at the back of the odeon and is
constructed of truly splendid masonry. It has been proposed that this was temple of the
city's chief god, Zeus Solymeus. What a pity, then, that apart from its five metre-high
cella walls, very little remains of this temple.
The second temple lies near the south-west corner of the
odeon. It possesses a 5.50x5.50 metre cella and is of the prostylos type. According to an
inscription found on the still complete entrance, this temple was dedicated to Artemis,
and both the building and the cult statue inside were paid for by a woman named Aurelia
Armasta and her husband using their own funds. To the other side of this entrance, a
statue of this woman's uncle stands on an inscribed base. The temple can be dated on
stylistic grounds to the end of the second century A.D.
To the east of the Artemis temple
are the remains of a Doric temple. It is of the peripteral type,
with six or eleven columns to a side; judging from the size of it, it must have been the
largest temple in Termessos. From surviving reliefs and inscriptions, it too, is
understood to have been dedicated to Artemis.
Further to the east, the ruins of another smaller temple
lie on a rock-hewn terrace. The temple rose on a high podium, but to what god it was
dedicated is not known at present. However, contrary to general rules of classical temple
architecture, the entrance to this temple lies to the right, indicating that it may have
belonged to a demi-god or hero. It can be dated to the beginning of the third century A.D.
As for the other two temples, they are located near the
stoa of Attalos belong to the Corinthian order, and are of the prostylos type. Also
dedicated to deities who are as yet unknown, these temples can be dated to the second or
third century A.D.
Of all the official and cult buildings to be found in this
broad central area, one of the most interesting is in the form of a typical Roman period
house. An inscription can be seen above the Doric order doorway along the west wall, which
rises to a height of six metres. In this inscription the owner of the house is praised as
the founder of the city. Doubtless, this house was not really that of the founder of
Termessos. Maybe it was a little gift awarded the owner for extraordinary service rendered
to the city. This type of house generally belonged to nobles and plutocrats. The main
entrance gives onto a hall which leads through a second entrance to a central courtyard,
or atrium. An impluvium or pool designed to catch rainwater lies in the middle of the
courtyard. The atrium held an important place in the daily activities of houses such as
this, and was also used as a reception room for guests. As such it was often
ostentatiously decorated. The other rooms of the house were arranged around the atrium.
A street with wide, shop-lined porticoes ran north-south
through the city. The space between the columns of the porticoes was often filled with
statues of successful athletes, most of them wrestlers. The inscribed bases for these
statues are still in place, and by reading them we can recreate the ancient splendour of
To the south, west and north of the city, mostly within the
city walls, there are large cemeteries containing rock-cut tombs, one is supposed to have
belonged to Alcetas himself. Unfortunately the tomb has been despoiled by treasure
hunters. In the tomb itself a kind of lattice work was carved between the columns behind
the kline; at the top there was probably an ornamental frieze. The left part of the tomb
is decorated with the depiction of a mounted warrior dateable to the fourth century B.C.
ıt is known that the youth of Termessos, much affected by the tragic death of General
Alcetas, built a magnificent tomb for him, and the historian Diodoros records that Alcetas
did battle with Antigonos while mounted on a horse. These coincidences suggest that this
is indeed the tomb of Alcetas and that it is he who is depicted in the relief.
The sarcophagi, hidden for centuries among a dense growth
of trees south-west of the city, transports one in an instant to the depths of history
ceremony, the dead were placed in these sarcophagi along with their clothing, jewellery,
and other rich accoutrements. The bodies of the poor were buried in simple stone, clay, or
wooden sarcophagi. Dateable to the second and third centuries A.D., these sarcophagi
generally rest on a high pedestal. In the family tombs of the weatlthy on the other hand,
the sarcophagi were placed inside a richly ornamented structure built in the shape of the
deceased together with his lineage, or the names of those given permission to be buried
alongside him. Thus the right of usage was officially guaranteed. In this manner the
history of one specific tomb can be asertained. In addition, one finds inscriptins calling
on the fury of the gods to prevent the sarcophagi from being opened and to scare away
grave robbers. The inscriptions also state the fines meted out to those who did not
conform to these rules. These fines, ranging from 300-100,000 denarii and generally paid
to the city treasury in the name of Zeus Solymeus, took the place of legal judgements.
No excavations have as yet been undertaken at Termessos.
Ariassos was founded in a narrow rocky valley
in the Taurus mountains to the north-west of Antalya. The earliest known
coinage of Ariassos dates to the first century B.C. ; these coins have the head of Zeus on
the obverse and on the reverse, a humped bull. Strabo mentions the city, calling it
Aarrossas; it is known in other sources as Areassos and Ariassos.
Apart from a few ruined Hellenistic period walls, all the
remains date to the Roman and Byzantine eras. The best preserved structure is the city
gate, which takes the shape of a tri-partite triumphal arch, with the central arch higher
and wider than the side arches. The arches spring off stone socles.
The site is entered via a colonnaded street running
east-west from this gate. In Byzantine times, buildings of unknown function were erected
on this street, entirely destroying its character. The nature of other principal buildings
cannot be determined because they consist now of nothing more than heaps of stone.
The south and west ends of the valley served as necropoli.
Funerary structures found here possess Pisidian characteristics, and generally consist of
vaulted structures placed on a high podium. Here lie opened crumbling sarcophagi decorated
with sword and shield motifs. The lids of the sarcophagi are shaped like rounde roofs.
Selge was an important Pisidian city.
It lies on the southern slopes of the Taurus in a naturally fortified spot
difficult of access. It is reached by a forest road that climbs past cliffs, rivers, and
small waterfalls, then passes over a Roman bridge. Thanks to its natural and historical
treasures, it has been included in the Köprülü kalyon (Bridged Canyon)
According to Strabo, Selge's founder was Calchas, and it
was later resettled by the Lacedaemonies (Spartans). The first settlement occurred during
the Doric migrations which took place at the end of the second millennium B.C. and were
connected with the Trojan War. The second settlement took place at the beginning of the
seventh century B.C. together with the colonization of Rhodes. No inscription confirming
this has come to light in the city, however and the idea that colonists would choose a
place hard to spot from the coast and hidden in the mountains seems difficult to accept.
Selge was the first Pisidian city to mint coins. The silver
staters minted in Selge starting in the fifth century B.C. conformed to Persian standards
and exhibit a startlingly close resemblance to the coins of Aspendos, from which it is
hard to differentiate them. On the observe of these coins are two wrestlers; on the
reverse appear a figure using a slingshot and the city's name, written as Stlegiys of
Estlegiys. These local names are linguistic proof that the Pisidian language, which was
related to Luvian, a language we known to have been spoken in third millenium Pisidia ,was
still in use in the fifth century B.C.
We do not possess any continuous account of the city's
history. According to the sources, Selge, an ancient foe of Termessos, took up sides with
Alexander the Great when he came here. Most likely Selge was at war with its neighbours
almost all the time, due to the deep-seated and widespread tendency to bellicosity in this
region. We learn of an interesting event connected with Serge, from Polybius. In 218 B.C.
Selge and Pednelissos, another Pisidian city, were at war. Selge had a large population
and was capable of fielding about 20,000 soldiers. At this time many Pisidian cities were
allied to Selge, and so they besieged Pednelissos.
The people of Pednelissos appealed to Achaios, uncle of
Antiochos III, king of Syria, for help, and he gave the task of lifting the siege to
Garsyeris, one of his generals. Polybios relates the rest of the incident as follows. The
people of Pednelissos appealed to Achaios for assistance. He in turn sent the trusted
Garsyeris and 6,500 men as help, However, the people of Selge prevented Garsyeris' arrival
by seizing the main passes and cutting off access to them. While marching from Millias to
Kretopolis, Garsyeris heard the news that the passes had been closed, and turned home. The
people of Selge too pulled back, returned to their houses and started the harvest.
However, this was a ruse, because Garsyeris immediately returned, seized the pass of
Kretopolis and, stationing a force there, moved into Pamphylia, entering into contact with
the enemies of Selge at Perge. He received pledges of assistance from them. In the
meantime the troops of Selge tried to recapture the pass held by Garsyeris'men, but they
were unsuccessful. They continued to wage war against Pednelissos and did not lift the
siege. Because Pednellissos was suffering from starvation. Garsyeris decided to try to
smuggle 200 men into the town, each laden with a bag of wheat. However, this attempt was
unsuccessful and everything fell into the hands of the Selgeans. Bolstered by their own
successs. Selge's troops took the offensive and attacked. Leaving only a small force
around Pednelissos, they threw their full force against Garsyeris and soon thereafter had
him pressed into a very tight corner. Garsyeris counterattacked the enemy's rear with his
cavalry in a surprise raid and was victorious. At the same time the people of Pednelissos
were freed, and they attacked what remained of the enemy. the Selgeans suffered a heavy
loss of some 10,000 men. The remaining troops escaped to the city, but Garsyeris would
give them no change. He immediately followed them, sealing the passes, and appeared
outside Selge. Their spirit broken and suing for peace, the people of Selge sent out one
of their leading citizens, Logbasis, as an envoy, but Logbasis, betraying the trust of his
fellow citizens delivered Selge to Garsyeris, who immediately occupied the city. Garsyeris
extended peace negotiations until the arrival of Achaios. When Achaious reached the city,
using a trick devised by Logbasis, he called the citizens and guards to a meeting. While
the citizens were in the meeting, Achaious, with Logbasis'help, was just about to seize
Selge and the Temple of Zeus at the Kesbedion outside the city, when the trick failed. A
shepherd saw the troops and spread the alarm. The Selgeans gathered just in time. First
they attacked Logbabis'house, killing him, his sons, and all his men, then they rushed to
the defence of the city. They even freed all the slaves. Achaios was driven out at great
loss of life. Immediately following this, the Selgeans appealed to Achaios to come to
terms, and so they made peace, with the proviso that Selge pay an initial amount of 400
telents, and subsequently 300 talents more, and that it free all the prisoners taken from
Pednelissos. The Selgeans thus regained their lands and their freedom.
As can be seen, the pepole of Selge kept their freedom but
had to pay a heavy price for it. That they were able to pay is proof of the city's
Strabo praises the city's natural beauties, its fruitful
orchards, its wide pastures and forests. He also reports that the inhabitants of Selge
often travelled great distances. The main source of revenue for the city was its
production of olives, wine, and medicinal plants.
With the founding of the Kingdom of Galatia in 25 B.C.,
Selge lost its independence for a time. However, under Roman rule, Selge enjoyed good
relations. Right up until the breakup of the empire, it kept its independent status and
would not concede its beloved lands to anyone. We also know by the frequent minting of
coins until the third century that the city's economic life remained healthy. The Goths,
who were settled in Phrygia by the Emperor Theodosius (379-395 A.D.) soon thereafter
revolted, raping and pillaging throughout Asia Minor. In 399 A.D. Selge, too, was attacked
by Goths under the leadership of Tribigild, but beat the enemy back. This show of force is
proof that Selge had lost none of its former strength.
Selge lay on three hills surrounded by a fortification
wall. This wall, of which a portion survives today, had seven main entrances and high
towers spaced at intervals averaging 100 metres. The first ruin visible today is the
Greco-Roman type theatre, which forms part of the modern day village of Zerk. The
theatre's lower portion rests on a roücky slope. The horseshoeshaped cavea is cut by a
diazoma dividing the theatre into 30 tiers of seats below and fifteen above. The first row
immediately below the diazoma has kept its stone seats intact. This theatre had a seating
capacity of about 9,000. Four separate entrances give onto the diazoma. In addition,
vaulted paradoses running between the cavea and the stage also provide access to the
theatre. The Roman period stage building survives today only as a heap of rubble. Its
general outlines, however, can be made out; it had five doors and a colonnaded facade. It
can be dated to the second century A.D.
Immediately to one side of the theatre one can trace the
outlines of the opposing rows of seats belonging to the stadium, even though it is, on the
whole, in a very ruinous state. It appears from the surviving portions that the stadium
was in all likelihood a little smaller than average. There are also several surviving
inscriptions recording victories in the stadium at Selge. Most of these competitions were
local, but every four years a larger regional festival and competitions took place.
The remains of two temples can be found atop the highest
hill to the west. It is more than likely that this is the Kasbedion mentioned by Polyios.
In that case, the large 17x34 metre peripteral temple must have been that of the city's
chief god, Zeus. As for the small temple with the templum in antis plan, this can be
tentaviely assigned to Artemis on the basis of an inscription found nearby.
Behind this hill is a giant round cistern, built not only
for rainwater, but also to hold water brought by a channel coming from the nort-west.
Between this hill and the other hills to the south-east,
lie the other principal municipal buildigns. Here on an incline lie the extremely
fragmentary remains of a very long porticoed street, a nymphaeum, and a bath.
On top of the hill to the south-east lie the remains of a
large square plan agora enclosed on three sides. Attached to it is an apsidal basilica
belonging to a later period.
The ruins of Selge which mostly date from the Roman period
show that, especially in the 2nd century A.D. Selge was a wealthy and influential city.
Selge remains unexcavated.